Tuesday, October 08, 2013

NOMAD (part two, travelling with child)

I've never been to Europe. Let alone for a month with a toddler and art supplies. So when Will Canepa and Jen Dranttel-Canepa went to Iceland for a month last year with their son Sam, I knew they were, a bit, well... how do you say crazy and courageous in Icelandic?
When I heard of NOMAD, their latest art/travel venture pulling a 15 ft travel trailer full of handcrafted awesomness across the country with Sam, now 2, I knew they were.
all photos courtesy of NOMAD

While catching up with Jen about NOMAD (click here for details on their October 13 appearance in Bellingham), I had to pick her brain about being an artist, world traveler and mama.

She has wanderlust tattooed on her wrist and the instinct was nurtured early by her own family.  When her dad was in the air force, travel was just part of the culture. They continued traveling for pleasure when he retired. She says, "it was always part of the flavor of our family."

when he's with us he's home

On traveling with a little fella, Jen said it is actually a great time to do it. Sam doesn't have the same connection to place that we do yet, so as long as they are together, he is at home.
  "It doesn't matter where we are. It's mom and dad and Sam, eating peanut butter sandwiches and singing Beach Boys. It's pretty much the same, you do your thing; nap time, listening to favorite songs on a CD, reading a favorite book, it's just in an exotic local where the people around us are speaking a different language."

pick one thing, then nap

This child paced routine actually helped them not over extend themselves in Iceland. They didn't party all night in Reykjavik and then try to walk 85 museums the next day. The pace was laid back and manageable. "When you travel with a kid, you pick your one thing to do that day, then you go home and take a nap."

make friends

Sam also served as a goodwill ambassador in a foreign country. "He would just walk up to ladies and smile with his one dimple. After he broke the ice we could ask people for what we needed: to take a photo of them or borrow an embroidery hoop. He makes friends everywhere."


 engaging and distilling 

And while they are taking care of each other, pointing out construction sites and cows and train tracks out the car window, they are also making art. I wondered how their different styles fit into the routine of traveling as a family.

Will is like Sam, engaging with people right away, going out for a container of milk and coming home with six hours of video footage of someone he met at the store chanting epic Icelandic poetry. He connects socially and takes photos or videos. That's the filmmaker in him, creating and documenting in the moment.

Jen also takes photographs and soaks in their environment. But it isn't until she has returned home that she can really distill the experience and make her best work. Many of the products she created for NOMAD are quite literally a distillation of scents and sights from all her travels.

And Sam, he isn't as inclined to sit and make art yet, being a busy boy. But he likes to paint and would play at the easel for hours during their Iceland residency. He loves playing in the NOMAD trailer and serves as a great product tester/inspiration for their children's line.

Be inspired by their Iceland adventure here.
Like NOMAD on Facebook to keep up with their current adventures.

And then pack a sandwich, your camera and an extra diaper in your bag and get out into the world. If you are anything like Jen, it will be the most natural thing in the world.

1 comment:

Claire Mannino said...

I love this. It made me teary eyed. Home sick for my childhood days on the road-4 kids, 2 parents, 1 dog, 1 cat, seeing the Country in a beat up travel trailer.